The 2010’s have been one of the most successful eras in Bruins’ history. The Bruins, to many die-hard fans’ delight won the Stanley Cup in 2011, and have consistently iced one the best NHL teams year after year this past decade. It wasn’t always fun (2013 and 2019 come to mind), but damn it’s been exciting. The most obvious reason for the Bruins’ success has been the amazing cast of players who’ve donned the black and gold in the last ten years. Some have been Bruins for the entire decade, while others shined for the Bruins before taking their talent elsewhere. Of the many who suited up for the Bruins, these are the top ten players of the decade.
(This list only considers these players’ time in a Bruins’ uniform from the 2010-11 season on and not their careers before or after their time in Boston)
1.Patrice Bergeron (2010’s stats: GP 678, G 233, A 311, PTS 544, +197)
While many people may disagree with the players on this list and the order they appear in, I doubt there will be many who disagree with Patrice Bergeron being #1. While there have certainly been players in the NHL who have been more offensively prolific during this period, where Bergeron really excels is in the stuff that doesn’t show up in a typical box score. In my opinion, Patrice Bergeron is the greatest defensive forward to ever play the game of hockey. Don’t believe me, ask his 4 Selke Trophies and countless nominations in the same category. Bergeron, who has been a remarkable +197 in the 2010’s, is also an advanced stat star ranking among the top players in Corsi rating since the stat was tracked in 2007-08, one of the league’s best face-off men, and a staple on the Bruins’ PK. Patrice Bergeron also has a knack for coming up huge in big moments (Game 7, 2013) even to the extent where he puts his very health on the line to help the Bruins. On top of all this, Bergeron is also one of the most respected players among all hockey fans and NHL players and personnel for his play on the ice, and the way he conducts himself with such grace and humility off of the ice.
2. Zdeno Chara (2010’s stats: GP 674, G 94, A 198, PTS 292, +197)
While people might not argue with Bergeron being the top Bruin of the 2010’s, I have a feeling this one might cause some debate. Captain Zdeno Chara is the not just one of the top Bruins of the 2010’s, but also one of the top Bruins of all-time. Chara has been a rock on the B’s defence over the past 10 years, despite playing in his late 30’s and early 40’s during this period. Chara does not have the numbers of some of his contemporaries, however what Chara has brought over the past ten years goes beyond the scoresheet. Chara has been a dominating force on the PK since his arrival in Boston. He’s also done a fantastic job shutting down some of the NHL’s best forwards in important games. This was perhaps no clearer when he helped completely shutdown a star-filled Pens’ offence in the 2013 East Conference Finals. Finally, Chara also serves as the ultimate big brother to the Bruins players. Not only does he lead with remarkable character, but also he is never afraid to step into a scrum to protect this teammates. It’s unfortunate the Norris Trophy goes to one of the top scoring defencemen each year, as Chara probably deserved a couple Norris Trophy’s over the 2010’s
3. Brad Marchand (2010’s stats GP 697, G 280, A 329, PTS 609, +213, PIM 719)
Perhaps the most hated player in the NHL, is the 3rd best Bruin of the 2010’s. Marchand’s offensive numbers during this period are the best of any Bruin, making him an easy choice for #3. What often goes unnoticed about Marchand is how great of a defensive player he is. Like Bergy and Chara, Marchand has been a staple of the Bruins PK over the past 10 years, and he is always someone Julien or Cassidy have had on the ice when its crunch-time, as he is the Bruins’ all-time leader in Overtime and PK goals.
4. Tuukka Rask (2010’s stats GP 467, W 253, GAA 2.29, SV% .921)
Tuukka’s stats alone during the past decade, not only make him one of the top Bruins of the last decade, but probably also a Hall of Famer. Despite these tremendous numbers and the fact he won a Vezina Trophy in 2014, Rask is probably one of the most polarizing players of the last 10 years. Even though Rask performs at a level greater than most of his peers, there is still a large fanbase that like to criticize Rask regularly. Then there are also those people who say ‘Yes, Rask is a good goaltender, but he can’t win the big games.” Even though, the Bruins probably don’t make it to the finals in 2013 and last year without Rask’s outstanding play, these people still believe it is not enough. No matter. He’s already proven himself.
5. David Krejci (2010’s stats GP 657, G 156, A 359, PTS 515)
Speaking of much-maligned players, Krejci has been quietly the 5th best Bruin during the 2010’s. I think when David Krejci moves onto another team or retires, much of the fanbase will really appreciate how good DK has been and how important he was to the Bruins’ success. Over the decade, Krejci transitioned from the top line center to a 2nd line center, giving the Bruins one of the most consistent one-two punches down the middle in the NHL. The Matrix is a perfect nickname for Krejci as he has a way of slowing down the game and using remarkable patience to create scoring opportunities. Krejci’s defensive awareness is something that is also underrated about the Czech center. With Bergy rightfully stealing the show here, Krejci himself breaks up a lot of plays and has never been afraid to dig for a puck in the corners. Lastly, Krejci has really saved his best games for when it really mattered. Krejci led all scorers in playoff points in 2011 and 2013 and has recorded 82 total points in 93 playoff contests in the decade.
6. David Pastrnak (2010’s stats GP 356, G 160, A 174, PTS 334, PPG 55)
It’s quite possible by the end of the 2019-20 season, Pastrnak could be higher on this list of top Bruins. Pastrnak is currently having himself a magical year that could see him scoring 60 goals this year. Its been a long time since a Bruin had 50 goals, and an even longer time since someone had 60. Pastrnak could be the best goal scorer the Bruins have seen since Cam Neely, and the scary thing about Pasta is that he is getting better every year. A couple things that hold back Pasta from a higher position on this list are that he is only played for half the decade, and that he still needs to improve defensively and avoid careless turnovers.
7. Tim Thomas (2010’s stats GP 116, W 70, GAA 2.18, SV% .929)
A lightly controversial choice in any other list, as during the 2010’s Thomas only actually played for 2 seasons with the Boston Bruins, however his year in 2010-2011 may go down as the greatest season a goaltender has ever had in Bruins history. Think about these stats: 35 wins, a GAA of 2.00 and a ridiculous SV% of .938. As a result of this tremendous season Thomas was awarded his 2nd Vezina Trophy and finished 5th in Hart Trophy voting that year. What’s even crazier about that year, was that Thomas’ playoff performance was even better. In 25 playoff games, Thomas won 16 games, had a GAA of 1.98 and a .940 SV%. Thomas was awarded the Conn Smythe and more importantly the Bruins won their first Stanley Cup in 39 years. I believe that it is fair to say, without Thomas in net, the Bruins’ cup drought may be still going.
8. Milan Lucic (2010’s stats GP 367, G 105, A 148, PTS 253, PIM 503)
Am I the only one who feels sad when they see 2019 Milan Lucic play hockey? Watching the current Lucic play hockey, is sad for me because in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s Lucic was my favorite Bruin. Never gifted with the most offensive skills, Lucic still dominated many games through punishing opponents with crushing body checks and downright intimidation. Lucic also made center David Krejci better, by giving him the space he needed to make plays. But what made Lucic my favorite Bruin, was his loyalty to his teammates. Looch would always be the first guy to drop ‘em if he thought someone was taking liberties with a teammate. Yes, his temper often put the B’s down a man and his star has fallen considerably, but the passion he played with in his early career was infectious among fans and teammates.
9. Torey Krug (2010’s stats GP 493, G 63, A 249, PTS 312)
Arriving on the scene in a big way during the 2012-2013 playoffs, Torey Krug has been an offensive catalyst for the Bruins for almost 500 games. As we all know, Krug is not the biggest guy, but sometimes the size of your heart is more important in hockey. Besides being an absolute lethal weapon on the PP, Krug has established himself a feisty and reliable defenceman over the last couple years. Particularly last season’s playoffs, Krug’s game seems to grow with every game that passed, as his liabilities became strengths. With the game changing and speed becoming more and more important, it is likely that Krug will continue to excel as a defenceman in the NHL. The big question for Bruins’ fans, will be: what jersey will be playing in next year?
10. Tyler Seguin (2010’s stats GP 203, G 56, A 65, PTS 121)
Does this one still hurt for anyone else? Perhaps no player had biggest expectations during the 2010’s than 2nd overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft, Tyler Seguin. While Seguin’s real offensive success would occur later in a Stars’ jersey, Bruins fans regularly got a sneak peak at the remarkable offensive potential of Seguin during his 3 years in black and gold. With his career just getting ready to take off, the Bruins management decided to trade Seguin to Dallas, after a couple disappointing playoff performances and possible maturity issues for the 21-year-old. Though, Eriksson, the key piece coming to Boston in this deal, had some decent years with the Bruins, most of the Bruins’ fanbase view this deal to be one of the worst in B’s history.
So, how’d I do with the list of top 10 Bruins of the 2010’s? Did I leave someone off the list that deserves to be here? Are the top 10 in the wrong order? Let the discussion commence…